Rumor: iPad 3 shipments begin

In what may well be the last “rumor” story before the iPad 3 is actually announced, it seems like Apple’s new tablet is ready for prime time.

According to a shipping manifesto that claims to have received, shipments of final products have been leaving the warehouses of Apple manufacturing contractor Foxconn. They were scheduled to be delivered to the US no later than March 9.

Best Buy has already begun discounting the iPad 2 by $50 in anticipation of the upcoming iPad 3 announcement.

It’s been reported that Apple will officially unveil the next generation tablet on March 7, but all bets are still on the table when it comes to what the launch date will actually be. We know that Apple likes to announce products very soon to when they hit store shelves, and in fact for a while it had a trend of launching products the same day as announcing them.

Of course there’s been nothing official announced, but it’s widely known that the iPad 3’s high-resolution display will be one of the key talking points on March 7.

High-resolution probably doesn’t even convey the grandeur that the new tablet will offer. It’s more like a super-resolution monitor, using technology known as a Retina Display. The result is a 2048×1536 screen that will blow the iPad 2’s already impressive graphical quality out of the water.

The question that is perhaps as much discussed as what the iPad 3 will offer is how the presentation will go. This is the first time a new iPad will be unveiled since Steve Jobs passed away, and spectators expect it to be a much more low-key affair. The sense of excitement and enthusiasm just isn’t there anymore, and it would be tough for new CEO Tim Cook to try to replicate that.